Tag Archives: working life

Happy!

9 Apr

20140409-232105.jpg

There are a lot of things going really well for us right now (as well as continual drama), and I think it is important to remember the little happinesses that occur every day. So here’s some of the things that are really, really good around here:

N is learning at a rapid rate–every day is a new adventure with him! He’s learning new words and new things (like his alphabet) and he’s always curious!

I’m not teaching this quarter!!! And yet I’m being paid for it 🙂 This is the great benefit of teaching a double load last quarter. My key task for the next 2 1/2 months is to collect data for my dissertation (an instructor focus group, student survey, student focus groups, follow-up individual interviews, and analyze the curricular materials and some essays from the course i’m studying). No biggie.

I really like my dissertation topic. It’s concrete yet connects to many of the important debates in my field right now. It’s easy to talk about and I think the things I’m studying and talking about are readily applicable to virtually all classrooms. This is a great thing for when I go on the job hunt (the “market”) this fall.

Can you believe it? I’m going on the market this fall?! I’ve had a lot of anxiety about it (Because of the lack of publications, lack of much on my resume for the past year or so while my personal life melted down) but after settling into a new pace (and getting some new things on my resume), I’m feeling excited about it. Which brings me to my next point…

In March I went to 2 conferences and it was a GREAT experience! The first I got a grant to attend, but didn’t have to present anything, so it was a stress-free way to learn about my field. It’s the main conference for what I do, so it was really wonderful to make connections across the field and prepare for next year when I really do need to be contributing. It was also fun to fly to Indianapolis and see a new city (not amazingly impressive, but what city is from the perspective of a conference hotel?).

One of the key things I learned is that I’m one of a few people who does what I do. In fact, one of the top research universities in the US was looking to hire someone just like me last year and couldn’t fill the spot (because they’re waiting for me, I’m sure). So now I have a target in mind and I’m already beginning to work on my job materials for this fall.

Sunshine and spring weather is here – we’ve had weather in the 60s and sunshine, which warms my soul. Today, N started “developmental preschool” which will include his speech therapy and also some special education which should help him get caught up on some of the skills where he’s a bit behind and work through some of the emotional stuff related to his dad. It was new to him so there were some rough moments with the new place and new expectations, but he had a blast playing in their indoor gym. He’s kind of a daredevil–when he first learned to go down the slide, he went head first. Well, today, he learned how to swing on a little trapeze and LOVED it!

We also went to the zoo today. I renewed my membership so we can go weekly while my schedule is open and flexible. I’ve quickly realized that its really difficult to entertain him all day for days on end. He’s SO energetic and he hasn’t even been napping well recently. We both do better if either a) he goes to preschool or b) we have a busy day of fun plans. So I really need to plan outings into our schedule. We need to enjoy this time because, fingers crossed, in just over a year I’ll have a full-time real job!

I’ve been cooking a lot again and I started running! I ran with N in the stroller on Sunday morning and it went ok – I can run 3-4 min straight before my heart rate goes up and I can’t exactly breathe. So I’d run, then walk, then run, then walk so that I can slowly build up my endurance. Although we walk a lot, it’s amazing the muscles you use if you run–my thighs were sore, my back was sore.. . . so hopefully this will help me burn more fat and tone my body more. It’s nice to build up my my physical strength. Tonight was a shorter run, but even short runs are important for building endurance 🙂

So, many things to keep me busy and happy! After 6 months on our own, we are thriving 🙂
And, now some pics from today:
Preschool

20140409-232429.jpg

20140409-232439.jpg
Zoo!

20140409-232514.jpg

20140409-232550.jpg

20140409-232609.jpg

20140409-232620.jpg

20140409-232627.jpg

20140409-232643.jpg

Advertisements

Celebrate!

4 Mar

I have a lot to celebrate this week – over the past week or so, I’ve gotten a lot of academic work done: I’ve finished my dissertation prospectus (research proposal), submitted proposal to a major theoretical conference in my field, completed an application for a TA-ship in a different–related–program for next year, and co-wrote a fellowship proposal with a faculty mentor.

Over the weekend, I got an email confirming that I have a spot teaching an annual month-long (very well paid) awesome course (that also happens to be the site of my dissertation research), and not only will I be teaching, I will be a lead instructor. Hooray! I’m finally being recognized for being capable and smart!

Today, I successfully “defended” my research proposal to my committee. It wasn’t so much a defense but a fun meeting with 4 of my favorite people/mentors talking about the academic work I will soon be undertaking. I’m left with new ideas to ponder (and the realization that now I have to actually DO the research. Ugh).

So I have a lot to celebrate! I’m on the brink of finally doing my dissertation research! I have a really exiting project that my mentors say is really offering something to the field! I’m getting my confidence back in my academic abilities and I’m really on a roll–connecting to a national conversation. And I love that my proposals are GOOD – not the half-assed crap I’ve put together in the past because I can’t get my act together (or I have life-drama intervening). It is so nice to be able to work and focus.

BUT

Despite the fact that I hit a major milestone today (over a year in the making!), I’m sad that I don’t really get to celebrate it. My family is happy for me, but they’re far away. N was so tired from a full day in preschool that he took a ‘nap’ at 6pm and hasn’t woken up. We went to the store, thinking I’d grab some treat or yummy food but nothing sounded good/was worth the money/calories. It was actually nice to acknowledge that I don’t need to celebrate with food, but it’s really sad to not be able to mark the occasion. Pop some bubbly, right? So that’s the slightly depressing take-away.

So, instead, I caught up on Ukraine drama, re-heated some yummy salmon & spaghetti squash, graded some papers, and soon I’ll curl up with my book on Stalin. But before I end the night wallowing in misery, some pictures of the fun we’ve been having over the past couple weeks:

IMG_9880 IMG_9891 IMG_9913 Valentine’s PartyIMG_9906 Cute kissing, umm, tropical animal. I forgot what it is, but it’s sure cute 🙂IMG_9926 Teaching N the culinary delight of french fries in ice creamIMG_9963 IMG_9975 IMG_9992 IMG_0001 IMG_0011 IMG_0098

In the Silence

7 Feb

The past few weeks have been pretty dramatic around here… Not really by my choice, but by the ex doing his usual manipulation and preying on my good will. After returning from Montana over Christmas (which I still haven’t blogged! Gotta get on that!), the he wormed his way back in to my apartment/life by slowly staying longer, making excuses, and well, by being nice. I had a pretty sweet deal: he washed dishes, bought food, and watched N when I needed to run errands. He got to work in peace during the day where all his equipment was stored (and not have to haul it around) and occasionally sleep on my pink couch.

But, in very short order it became clear that he was back for good–pretty much moved in to the center of my living room with no plan to get out. Any money he had was blown on alcohol, cigarettes, gas for his f’ing car, clothing and fancy food products. Meanwhile I’m paying his car insurance, car loan, and putting a roof over his head? To make matters worse, he started to cycle back into the abusive behavior. First, the friends he was “staying” with decided to divorce so he appeared at my door one night at 3am ‘lost’ and feeling awkward. So thats how he got back in. Then he told stories of how crazy they are–impulsive plans, crazy parents, the wife wanting him, playing her off me, etc. and then when I told him he ended to start paying for his expenses (not to mention rent) he started the yelling. Honestly, I don’t remember what triggered it, but last a couple weeks ago I kicked him out.

That didn’t go well–he finally packed his things and was out by 8pm. I had a glorious evening by myself (I cleaned. Everything around him turns to shit, including my housekeeping, but that’s because he’s an inconsiderate slob AND he sucks up any peaceful time when I might actually be in the mood to clean). And then, at 1:30am he was back. This process continued for another week. He’d be nice, I’d kick him out, he’d be back. Finally, after one rough night when he was back to his old self (berating me for hours on end for perceived evils – like a chihuaha – yip! yip! yip!), I had enough. I got up the next morning and told him I wanted him to leave that afternoon, forever, so start packing. I went to campus for a meeting and ran into a friend/mentor and when she asked how I was doing, I cracked. I spilled everything.

She took one look at me, brought me back to her office and instructed me to get him out now. To get family housing on the line and have them help me. To contact my university’s police department to back me up if he doesn’t comply. So I cancelled my meetings and headed home. I told him to pack and he did. At that point, he didn’t know that I had backup, but he still went willingly. After he left, I talked with our community advisor and with the PD to explain the situation.

He was gone for almost a week, when, after a week of building up lies about how crappy his friend’s couch was, he decided to show up here again in the early morning. I guess he was crazy all night (bitching to the friend) and packed his things at 6am. She texted me to say he was coming, and he knocked right around 8am.

I ignored him and he went away. At 8:40, when he knew we’d be up and heading out for school, he knocked again and N immediately ran to the door. I had to let him in, but I immediately informed him that he couldn’t stay. He said he wanted to stay for a couple weeks. ‘Till he had some money. ‘Till he could get his own apartment. I said no. He beat on doors and yelled at me. N started throwing things. It was not good. Somehow I managed to get N dressed for school and out the door, while the ex followed us and helped put N in the car. When I drove away, the ex was standing next to his car and was on the phone.

I was shaken and mad, but I had a plan: that day I had a meeting with the victim’s advocate with the PD to discuss options, so I just had to get thru one class then I could deal with the situation. When I arrived at daycare, I saw that it was closed due to lack of heat in the cold building. Frustrated and out of options, I cancelled class and drove down to the PD to get this sorted out.

I was able to immediately meet with the victim’s advocate and we got an officer to head to my apartment to see if he was there. I figured he’d be in the parking lot, but come to find out, he was inside. Even though he doesn’t have a key, he unlocked the door as he followed us out. He had made himself right at home, bringing bags in and making himself tea.

The officer kicked him out and I had to go back, with the advocate, to check that he hadn’t stolen anything. I will forever hold the image in my mind of the man I married standing in the middle of the parking lot with two police cars and 4-5 cops surrounding him. I guess he was compliant. I didn’t talk with him. I confirmed that nothing was missing and left.

I haven’t seen him since.

After this incident, he seems to have gotten the message that I am serious: we are divorcing, I won’t put up with his treatment of me, and I am no longer supporting him. He has been banned from the family housing territory (as in if he shows up, he will be arrested). So far it seems like enough, but if he has even one misstep, I’ll get a domestic violence protection order through the courts.

We have had some correspondence via email and he has talked with N. Tomorrow we’re meeting him near his place (with a friend) so he can spend some time with N and wrap up some business details.

But back to the title of my post: In the silence…

Without him, things are silent. Even more silent than when he was abroad (because he still harassed me from there). In the peace and quiet, I am getting so much work done. I have almost completed my dissertation proposal and it is exciting work! I have hired a lawyer (well, legal intern via my student legal services) to represent me in the divorce. I’m making arrangements for N to start a preschool at his Early Intervention center (we think with everything going on, he could use more support for speech and development). I’m almost done filing taxes (the last time ever with his self-employed bullshit!). I have a proposal out for a fellowship. I have made travel plans for two conferences (Oregon! Indiana!) and am working on proposals for others. I am making my career happen and it feels good.

In the silence, I dream. I have always aimed high, always having a plan A, plan B, plan C. I have been incredibly fortunate in this life, but a lot of my fortune and adventure come back to the fact that I’m always reaching out and pursing opportunities. This bad marriage shut down my dreams, and it is really wonderful to get this part of me back. In the silence I can think. I can dream. I can take care of myself.

Peace and Quiet

31 Jan

Since December, life has been crazy. It’s been a combination of fun-crazy (Christmas in MT with the fam), busy-crazy (teaching 2 writing classes and doing dissertation stuff) and crazy-crazy (the ex.).

I don’t want to go into the play-by-play of it all, but I’m finally settling back into a calm, peaceful routine. I *think* I’ve worked everything out with the ex where he respects my space/boundaries while also being in N’s life. I have built enough structure into my classes so that when life gets a little crazy, I don’t look crazy and unorganized to my students (case in point – my fall teaching evals were some of my best yet and my life was falling apart). We’ve had a stomach bug roll through and a cold that is verging on bronchitis (for me), yet we’re still doing ok. Professionally, things are going really well. Really, really well. I feel like the end is in sight, even if it’s still a year and a half away, I can see how to reach graduation, job, etc. Boy, am I going to celebrate!

I also found out about legal services at my university where law students give legal advice for cheap, so I’m most likely going to go that route to actually get divorce filed. It’s hanging over this relationship where the ex still hangs on because nothing is official. . .yet I’m so done that I’ve actually been on a couple dates. Once it’s filed, I think he’ll finally ‘get’ it and I can truly start moving on.

I’ve been thinking a lot about moving on. It was fun to go on a couple dates (though both were duds). It was good to a) see that there are other fish in the sea b) see that I’m desirable and c) talk to other human beings, who aren’t toddlers or crazy. I also realized that I have a lot of stuff to work out before I go back out to date for real. The amount I talked about the ex was atrocious, so I need to learn to talk about myself and relationships without talking about him. I wear my heart far too much on my sleeve and I think I need to figure out boundaries. . . that is, I open up too much and then I’m a total bitch when I shut down. I need to learn how to equalize my openness and my emotions so that it’s not one or the other. Luckily, it’s pretty much pointless to date over the next year since I need to work overtime to finish my PhD, find an amazing job, and get the hell outta here and build a new, amazing life wherever it is that i’ll be working (Academia is so weird that way…). Once I know what that life will look like, I can think about finding someone else to share it with.

For now, more than anything, I am so thankful for peace and quiet. N thrives in routine and kind love. My academic work comes from calm thought. The ex and I are toxic together and it has been a really difficult process for him and me to get him out (both in September and more recently, after he returned back and figuring out where boundaries needed to be set). So for now, I am savoring the calm and hoping that this balance keeps.

Whack-a-mole

18 Nov

Life these days feels like the game whack-a-mole. . take care of one problem & another pops up! I mean, I guess it’s been that way for years, especially since I have entirely too much responsibility, but I’m so acutely aware of it now because a) I have no one to blame things on and b) I’m in ‘take charge’ mode, not stick my head in the sand and pretend the problems aren’t there mode.

Today I took care of one tedious thing: I got my security deposit back from my dumb landlord. He’s just generally one of those talkative, gossipy, stingy individuals so all dealings with him are not fun and I really didn’t want to have him nickel-and-dime the whole security deposit away. But after talking with the utilities company together and explaining to him what I was responsible for on the final utilities bill (he’s the landlord, he should know what’s going on, not me!?!), I got the amount I wanted back. Yay!

But then I also had a brief skype call with hubs because he wanted to talk with N and we were captive in the car, so, why not? But he cried the whole time (?!?) so I ended up having to put N down for an overdue nap and tell hubs to man-up. Why cry/wallow if it’s all over? And N doesn’t need to see/hear that. All he’s trying to do is make me feel bad and it is not.going.to.work. Meanwhile I get a phone call from a client who is wondering where their final wedding edit is. I’m trying to take charge and do the right thing, but there’s just too many things that pop up. I can’t be an adult all the time. 😦

Which is why I actually spent the whole weekend in a true funk. All I wanted, deeply wanted, was to curl up in cozy blankets and go to sleep. But I had to pull myself together to get things done. Friday sucked–there was a spaghetti dinner at the community center for my university housing place and I was hoping to meet some people. Instead it was mostly the same people I’ve briefly met and who already know each other. There’s one bitchy community assistant (like the dorm RA for the families here) who just generally pisses me off. And so I sat in the corner with N while he ate spaghetti and felt totally alone. And there’s nothing worse than feeling alone in a room full of people. Then, we went home and I made the final arrangements for my tea party. . when I realized I had to pre-order my cupcakes for the next day. I had bought a coupon for half-price on a dozen, but you needed to online pre-order which was closed. So I called and they said there was nothing I could do. So I cried. Over cupcakes 😦 But then I pulled myself together and we went over to the cupcake place (a 2 min drive) and through a tear-lined face asked the nice girl working if she could make my night any better. She was really nice and I ended up picking up 6 cupcakes and after she rang me up she gave me 4 more for free (they were the slightly-less-cute but equally delicious ones). After a string of bad service incidents over the past few weeks, it truly made my day.

And that’s just it. I can’t let myself wallow. I was headache-y all weekend, I’m sure, because of all these anxieties. But my tea party went well, N is generally well-behaved, and I AM taking care of the massive number of ‘fires’ I have to put out. As my dad said, It’s better to deal with all this shit on my own than to have HIM in my life and deal with his shit in addition to my own. And so here I am, playing whack-a-mole all alone. . and yet I’m doing ok with it. There are moments that are really, really challenging (like tantrums on the way home from the park or dealing with my former landlord) but as long as I give myself that moment to be frustrated and cry and then get over it, then I am generally ok.

And I really am getting things done. I’m moments away from finishing my human subjects review application (only 3 days late), I have gotten about 1/3 of the massive pile of grading done, I bought groceries, and I wrapped things up with my landlord, and it’s only 3:30 pm. I have to give myself some credit for that! As we said during my tea party: “here’s to all the things that don’t suck!”

This week

18 Oct

Aside from all the drama, N and I have had a fun week! Here’s some pictures to prove it:IMG_8172We’ve taken lots of walks around the neighborhood (often 40+ min, N speed-walking the entire way!). The above pics were taken this morning in the cool fog.IMG_8145IMG_8173He loves mailboxes–has to stop and check each of them out.

He also loves going down slides head-first:IMG_8069
IMG_7995This week he came to campus twice for meetings and did pretty well!!IMG_8135IMG_8024IMG_8136I’ve been cooking healthy and losing weight and just feel good:IMG_8081When he can, he loves to do things himself. The steps leading to preschool have a low kid’s railing and he won’t let me help him up and down these stairs: IMG_8171Every night ends something like this: kitty by my side. IMG_8175Tonight was the annual potluck for my masters program (I’ve been going for 6 years since I was a MA TESOL student myself. Now I get invited back ’cause I’m still a grad student–and N has been going since he was 6 weeks old!). N wasn’t feeling 100%–I don’t know if he was just tired or is getting sick. He wasn’t himself after waking up from a long (3-hr) nap. Went to bed early so I hope it passes because we have fun plans for tomorrow! But he got to hang out with his friend L. there–she’s the daughter of my classmate/friend who has been in the program with me since day 1 and is still working on her PhD along with me. L.’s parents are from Egypt so she’s also bilingual (and a total sweetie!).IMG_8192

Night and Day

18 Oct

This process of extracting myself from this relationship is not easy, and dealing with an irrational person leads to a large unpredictability in my life. Wednesday evening I had a huge wake-up call when I got an email saying hubs could check in for his flight to Seattle… what??!?

I checked the flight information and it seems the flight had been changed, so I called KLM directly to find out what happened. And yes, someone paid the flight-change fee to change the flight on Monday.

I called his parents and they, too, had just found out he changed the flight. It seems that in a wave of optimism he changed his flight on his own, without considering whether a) I wanted him back and b) any arrangements for transportation, living, money, etc when he got here.

So I spent 2 1/2 hours on the phone convincing his family to not let him get on the plane, while simultaneously making plans in case he did get on the plane. With his irrationality and temper, I need to keep myself safe so I read up on how to get restraining orders. If he boarded, I had a plan in place: get a restraining order and go to a hotel for the night.

During the conversation, his parents begged me to let him come, help him find a place to live and a job and to help him edit the past weddings. I explained what he has done to me, how I cannot support him emotionally, monetarily and how I don’t have time to deal with his drama. As they talked I heard him echo through their voices – his father with all the excuses and blame-shifting, his mom with the martyr-ness. I had to repeat and re-iterate that he made these choices, not me. He changed the ticket and forced my hand. He abused me. It was surreal.

He didn’t get on the plane and just like that, he burned his one chance to come back–not a chance to come back to this relationship, but return to the US. With a December return we had time to get divorced and make a plan for him, but with one impulsive move he lost that chance. Now he’s sitting at home with no money (I sent a thousand bucks earlier this month so he could buy a computer and work, but he blew it by going to Russia and paying the ticket change fee) and no options. I do feel bad for him but he brought it upon himself.

Last night, instead of getting on the plane, he melted down publicly on Facebook. He insulted my mom, blamed me for breaking up our family and did it in a way that many friends could see it. All his actions did was get a whole lot of people to rally behind me. By being so crazy, he is only helping me make my case and bringing my friends back to me.

In complete contrast to this angle of my life, my dissertation is going SO well! Last week I had a meeting with my former boss who had a dissertation idea for me. We met, I liked it, and I got to thinking. Yesterday I met with my current boss, who is the director of the writing program and is highly regarded in the field. We had a GREAT meeting where he complimented my strength (in light of these personal issues) but more than that, he complimented my intelligence. He said “you are smart, but not juts smart but lively smart and that is rare!” He noted how quick I am to make connections between ideas and how engaging it is to talk to me. THIS is the confidence boost I needed!

This, along with the additional ideas for my dissertation that he had, got me back on track. He agreed to chair my dissertation committee which will be re-shuffled a bit bringing on a new member and changing chairs. I think it will be a really great, supportive group who will really support me to succeed.

Night and day. Things in my life are really crazy (like, literally) and also REALLY GOOD! I need to keep working with that good and surrounding myself with people who support me.